Spring Break And Stuff

Happy spring break! Unless you had your spring break some other time, in which case, I’m sorry. But spring break has officially kicked off for me, since I got out of my last class for the week earlier today. I’ve been brainstorming blog topics but I kinda came up empty handed, but I promised I would blog during my break to let you guys know I’m alive. (I feel like every other post I do is a “hey I’m still a thing!” post.)

   Whatever.

  I thought about talking about my characters or my novel but it always feels weird. It’s not something I talk about on here and I’m not sure why that is. I also thought about talking about art but I realize I do that a lot. I’ve also said almost the exact same thing before. Oh well. Once I decide to share or not,  I will.

   I guess since I can’t write because of writers block, I shall make a list. Of things I’m excited for and working on this spring break as well as things coming up.

   -writing the 3rd draft of ’14 nanowrimo
   -binge watching Mr. Robot with dayle
   -getting ready for my thyroid biopsy on good friday
   -trying to find some books to read (recommendations anyone??)
   -attempting to understand the relationship between who I am as an artist and to who I am as a Christian
   -likewise, thinking over why there aren’t any known believers in surrealism photography
   -thinking about art too much
   -comparing myself to other people even though I know I shouldn’t
   -being insecure about my photography
   -trying to take it easy because I think my lupus is doing things
   -being excited for Captain America: Civil War
   -oh yeah I redesigned my blog to fit my personality more
   -being obsessed with Marina And The Diamonds and Halsey
   -waiting to get my jumper from theatre club at my school (it has my last name on it and everything!)
   -talking politics apparently??? I know. who have I become.
   -finishing Tina Fey and Felicia Day’s books. (they were rad.)

I had to include that selfie. Because my models really aren’t scary. They’re little cuties.

Plus, the story Diana created in pictures. 

   Thoughts?

   Are you guys on spring break? How have you all been? I’ve been doing my best to catch up on reading your blogs and commenting. I’m getting better at it.

   May the Force be with you.

The Oscars

   I watched the Oscar’s for the first time last night.

   And it was amazing. Despite the fact that I was crazy sick from using all my spoons to play frisbee and football earlier in the day. Anyhow, by an unplanned turn of events (my mom leaving me at church because I was supposed to have plans with someone else) I ended up at an Oscar party with my Oscar obsessed friends. We got to make predictions about who would win. We ate great pizza. We screamed and aww’d whenever Jacob Tremblay was on screen. I fangirled over Daisy Ridley. Mostly I had to listen to it because the light was really bad for my headache, but I enjoyed it all the same. I got to see all the good parts anyway.

   As for the actual movies that won awards, I thought it was good. I had wanted Room to win best picture, but Spotlight seemed legit too so I’m sure it deserved the win. And Brie Larson, an actress from Short Term 12, my sister’s favorite movie, won best actress for Room. I loved Pete Doctor’s speech when Inside Out won best animated picture. I loved Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til It Happens To You.” I loved that everyone cried during that performance because there is something so powerful in crying with other people over the same reason. It’s unifying. I loved that Leonardo Dicarpio finally won his Oscar, even though I’m sad my favorite meme is gone. I know he deserved it. Mad Max got so many awards and now I really want to see it. John Williams should have won best score, in my opinion, but heck, what do I know? Overall, it was good. I got 9/24 for my predictions, but hey, that’s good for a newbie.

   It made me so happy for so many reasons. I know I certainly didn’t look happy because I was curled up in a ball on the couch and even cried sometimes, I was happy. I was overjoyed to be in a house with awesome people watching awesome things on TV.

   I was journaling today about everything and I realized a lot of things.

   I loved the Oscars. Yeah, it had it’s flaws. Everyone was complaining about the racisms and Chris Rock’s jokes and sometimes he pushed it too far. But I think I enjoyed the sense of community. I loved live tweeting it and seeing my timeline be filled with people all over the place seeing the same thing I was seeing. In a way, the Oscar’s is so stupid and pointless, but at the same time its relevant and important. At the end of the day, it doesn’t seem to matter and yes we spend too much money on entertainment and there are so many bigger things in the world to be invested in or worry about, but really, its a blessing to be able to come together and watch something bigger than ourselves. I don’t know how something can be pointless and so much bigger than ourselves. But art is that contradiction.

   It’s incredible to think that those movies are all a part of someone in an intimate way. Like, someone poured their heart and soul into those films. They are someone’s dreams and life goals. That’s so important. By standing a recognizing those films, we get to be a part in recognizing human life and real people. We get to celebrate the fact that God gave the ability to think creatively.

   I’m even starting to become okay with how they talk politics, which I never thought I would say. A lot of people were offended but you can’t please everyone. Chris Rock made a lot of jokes about Hollywood being racist, some were unnecessary, but he was being real. He also said that not everything was an issue of racism and sexism and I loved that because it was true. Just because he said it with a smile on his face didn’t make it any less true. I think for a lot of us, humor is a way we can talk about scary things and not be scared by it. I know I do. I know I can either joke about something or cry about something; the latter option always seems best. Tears come but there are times the only way we can express things is through humor. That isn’t making light of a situation, but rather, expressing it the only way we are able for a time.

   A lot of people hate how politics is brought into award shows, but in places where art is being recognized there is bound to be politics because they’re interwoven. Art is a reflection of who we are as individuals and as a society or culture. Politics is oftentimes involved in those things.

   So I could appreciate all those actors who stood up and used their award as a platform to be an advocate for change even though a lot of them scared the living crap out of me. A lot of those films were about some heavy, yet real, topics and issues we face today. And those topics are scary and triggering. But art isn’t always pretty and life is messy and true things can make you uncomfortable and that’s okay.

   I loved coming together for something so stupid and pointless and artistic and amazing because that’s what it means to be human. I’m often times terrified of living and tomorrow is so uncertain but nights like last night make me remember why I’m so blessed to live here and now. I think Pete Doctor said it best in his acceptance speech when Inside Out won an Oscar. “There are days you’re going to feel sad. You’re going to feel angry. You’re going to feel scared. That’s nothing you can choose. But you can make stuff. Make films. Draw. Write. It will make a world of difference.”

   And that is does.

   Art and writing and photography have made a world of difference for me. Art has been a way for me to deal with all those emotions and more. When I’m scared, I write until I’m not scared anymore. When I’m sad, I take photos until I’m not sad anymore. I just create things until I can push those emotions out onto that medium.

   I guess that’s what the Oscar’s meant to me.

   Never stop creating.

   “A human must create. That is why we were created.”-Tyler Joseph

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10 Things I’ve Learned In College

   I’m only in my second semester of college, but I’ve already learned a ton about myself and about college and life in a general. And I thought it would be interesting to share what I’ve learned with you. College life can be tough, and while yes, I’m only taking 13 credit hours, I still get stressed a lot about homework and due dates. I have been attempting to figure out a way to balance school and friends and church and family and personal hobbies; and it is not easy. But I’ve figured out some tips for you. Enjoy!

   1. You do have the time
   I know. Coming from someone who’s barely a full time student sounds like bull crap, and maybe I don’t have room to talk. But in November I managed to do tech week plus 6 shows for columbinus, write a 50k word novel with NaNoWriMo, attend church every Sunday, and keep up my grades. So, as the saying goes, you make time for the things that matter. Realistically, how much of your time do you waste? Yeah. A lot. I know. I do it too. So prioritize. Find what matters to you and accept that some things won’t make the cut. (Sorry, tumblr.)

   You could also find resting periods. You know, times that you’re in limbo. Like for me, I take the bus to school every morning. While I’m waiting for the bus, I like to read instead of listen to music; because that’s something I don’t always have time to dedicate specifically for that. I’ve always found it sad how people stop reading for fun in college, so I made it a point to read in those times I’m waiting. If I’m at the doctor, I have a book. Even as I sit in my class room waiting to start, I read. Reading is important. So I make time.

   2. Complaining does literally nothing.
   There are so many memes and Twitter accounts dedicating to complaining about college and while they can be pretty funny, they don’t do anything. The only thing complaining helps you do is procrastinate. It also gives you a bad attitude and crappy outlook on things. Seriously. It’s nasty. I hate people who say this. but really, be thankful. You get to go to college and meet people and learn! We all love to complain about how useless college is but how many of us have actually tried to get something out of it? Yes, it has it’s flaws, but whining about it does nothing to change that. If you feel that passionately about the education system, contact a person of authority at your school or vote for Bernie Sanders.

   3. Make friends
   It’s terrifying. I know. But friends in college make the whole experience that much more enjoyable. Plus, they’re great because they can give you notes if you’ve missed class or study with you if you’re struggling. So step out of your comfort zone and talk to the kid that sits next to you. College kids don’t bite. (Usually.) And nine times out of ten, they’re really great people who are just as socially awkward as you. I’ve met a lot of amazing people at college and I don’t know what I would do without them.

   4. Don’t procrastinate 
   The most repeated and yet most ignored advice in college.

   But really. It’s self explanatory. It’s a bad idea.

 
   5. Use the resources
   Your campus has a ton of resources you might not even be aware of. Most colleges have things such as counselling, gyms, tutoring, informative databases and more! Explore it. Oftentimes, they offer them for free. Take advantage of it. I’ve been going to my school gym since I started. It’s tiny, but its free so I like it. Don’t be afraid to ask around and see what’s available. Check it out. You might like it.

   6. Use your textbook
   How much did you spend on it? Why did you spend so much to just have it sit on your shelf?! This one actually goes out to me because I bought all these books and I’ve only used them like, once. *Sighs* Let’s get our moneys worth on this stuff, okay?

   7. Pack snacks
   I get so hungry if I’m at school for a long time. If I don’t have food on me I know I’ll walk over to Dunkin Donuts or get food from the way overpriced vending machines. To avoid eating crap, I bring snacks or pack a lunch. Some of my favorite things to bring are saltine crackers, nuts, celery sticks, fruits of varying kinds, and turkey sandwhiches.

   8. You’ll get more studying done at school
   I always tell myself I’m going to go home and study or do homework, but then I realize I’m tired and I want to nap or I want to watch Netflix. I tend to be more productive at school. Homes are so full of distractions and they’re noisy. The campus library is a nice place to stay focused. Or get a study room. If you don’t need to be home (or back in the dorm room.) try and study at school or get there early so you have time to go over things.

   9. Flash cards
   They were the sole reason I got an A in psych last semester. They’re a great study tool that I personally find very helpful. On that note, the Green brother’s youtube channel, Crash Course, is another great study tool, if they have your topic of choice on there. I’ve been using it for biology and it’s the only reason I’ve been surviving.

   10. Mental health comes first
   This is the most important. Please, if your mental health is suffering, reach out to someone. Tell your parents, a professor, or see a counselor on or off campus. Take all the steps you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes that means taking a semester off school and that’s okay. You should never have to sacrifice your mental health for education. Take a break. Have a Treat Yo-self Day. Take a nap. But please, don’t destroy yourself for a good grade.

   So there you have it! Ten things I’ve learned at college so far! What did you think? If you’ve got any tips for me, drop a comment. I’d love to hear all about your college experience and what you’ve learned. And I hope you liked the photography! I’ve been having a blast in photography class and had to share some of the product of us messing around with studio lights today.

   Have a great week!

‘The Rest Of Us Just Live Here’ Review

   Hello all.

   Today we’re going to do something a bit different. I did a book review (since survey says you guys like those.) BUT I did it with NikMakPattyWak and its a youtube video. She invited me to be featured in a video she did so here it is. So I apologize in advance for my face. And my everything. I don’t know man it was my first youtube video. If you guys like it though….yeah kidding I’m not making any promises that I’ll ever do that again.

 

   But yeah. Enjoy this lovely video and if you like writing and stuff, my friend’s channel does a lot of cool writing tips. (Her writing blows my mind, honestly.) So give her a follow or whatever. She’s pretty rad.

   Also have some pictures I took recently with my friend Grace.

   And as a little update on my biopsy: it didn’t happen. Insurance stuff is crazy so all my doctors stuff have been put on hold until it gets sorted out.

   Hey, I think I just broke a Princess Faith personal record of shortest blog post!

   Have a great day y’all. Good luck with school and life.
 

Update

   I know these are boring and no I do not care. It’s been a while. I’ve been up to some stuff and since I have nothing better to talk about, here we are. Please enjoy this mess of a post.

School
   It’s been fun, not gonna lie. I was starting to lose my mind just sitting at home. I have great classes this semester, as I’ve mentioned before. Photography is going amazing! It’s all about how to shoot with a 35mm film camera and developing and stuff. We shoot in all black and white which I adore. I cried in the darkroom one day because I accidentally poured the fixer into the stopbath bottle and my professor asked if my film was okay. I nodded. He told me “Then its okay. You only cry when you ruin film. And even then it’s barely worth it.” He’s the best professor I ever had. The first day at at school he showed us some of his work and he said “Someone came up to me and said “You know John, I’m really glad you’re a photographer. Because if you weren’t you’d be a serial killer.” So obviously we get along just fine.

   I can’t wait to share some of my prints with you!

   Speech class is good. I have my first speech tomorrow, (Wish me luck!) And I’m really loving theatre art. My professor says things incredibly profound things that I just love. I actually did an entire post about that over on the Rise Above It Missions page, which you can check out HERE. But then I have biology….and that class will be the death of me. It’s 4 and a half hours, although luckily we get out early most days. But I don’t like what my professor teaches and he has a really thick accent that’s hard to understand him, and he’s confusing. I have a test for that this Friday and I really don’t think I’m ready for it. So prayers please!

Watching
   So much Parks And Rec. I got my little brother into it so we watch it an episode or two every night. We also make so many jokes and references throughout the day. I just love that show. I’m at the beginning of the 5th season and I don’t want it to ever end.

   On top of that, Adam and Ronda have been getting me into Saturday Night Live. Seriously both of them slayed so hard. Well it was them and my sister, who got me into it.  Plus I have a lot more respect for comedy artists after reading Amy Poehlers book. Even if a lot of the jokes they make on there are sketchy, I really appreciate how hard they work. And it’s hard not to smile when the cast breaks and starts laughing, because I can’t help but think about how they’re having the best times of their lives. I get a lot of secondhand joy from it.

   And Pete Davidson is a precious cinnamon roll.

Reading
   I finished reading Equus by Peter Shaffer and WOW. It blew my mind. It really does deserve a review of its own.

   I also started Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. It’s fantastic so far. It’s a bit hard for me to read, plus it’s huge. (Over 700 pages.) But I’m really enjoying it. Between reading that and listening to the Hamilton soundtrack, I feel super pumped. Honestly. It makes me want to start a revolution or finish college. 10/10 would recommend.

Listening
   The Grease Live soundtrack because I missed seeing it. (Sad day, I know.) Also I’ve really been enjoying Halsey, (Still on that kick.) and freaking The Killers. That band is so rad and it took me waaaaay too long to realize it. The song by them I’ve been loving the most is When You Were Young.

Writing
   *Laughs nervously*

Excited
To go see some live shows with my best friend and sister! We’re seeing The Flick in a few weeks, and possibly The Scottsboro Boys this summer. I’m so glad I have someone who’s willing to go see performances with me. It’s gonna be a great time.

Social Media Crap
    Because some of the things I post are cool.

A photo posted by Faith |-/ (@geek4god) on

   
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 I am was really angry about Kylo/Adam. But what else is new.
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https://secure.assets.tumblr.com/post.js      Health
   Oh yeah. The bad news.

   Well. I had an ultrasound to check out the growth on my thyroid annnnnnnnd it grew. So I’m having a biopsy next Thursday and then I have to meet with my doctor. I have to see my rheumy on Monday as well. I haven’t been feeling good. I’ve been having to take 2 hour long naps the second I get back from school. I’ve been nauseous a lot too, and I’ve had a headache the past few days. It sucks. Although right now it’s not that bad. I’m actually feeling pretty good. I just had dinner and didn’t feel terrible. So I should probably study for those tests now…

   Thanks for sticking with me for another boring post while I try to entertain you guys until I can come up with something clever and also find the energy/motivation to write it.

  What are all of you up to? It makes me sad a lot of people have left over the past couple weeks. I try not to take it personally. Sorry.

   What do you want to read on the blog? More Star Wars? More serious stuff? Play reviews? Or applicable posts? Let me know.

   You guys rock. Stay awesome. https://secure.assets.tumblr.com/post.js

KCACTF

   I wanted to blog about theatre fest. I still do. But in honesty I’m not sure how. I’m not sure which aspect of the trip to focus on. I’m not sure anyone cares. I’m not sure it’s beneficial to my readers. But I know I want to remember it forever, so I guess you guys can just deal with it.

   On Sunday I came back from the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. For 5 days I got to be in a hotel with 9 friends from my school’s theatre department, plus our theatre art professor, along with hundreds of college kids from across the country. I don’t know if there’s a word to describe it, although ‘amazing’ definitely comes to mind. It was an adventure. I learned a lot about theatre and about myself and about people. I felt empathy, thought deeply, laughed, and surprisingly didn’t cry. (No….wait. Okay, so that’s not entirely true. I almost cried once, and I teared up a lot watching a show one day. But still! I cried for art, and that’s it.)

   I didn’t go to as many workshops as I would have liked, but I saw some incredible shows and got to watch two of my cast mates do amazing in their scenes and monologues for the Irene Ryan’s competition. As for shows, I saw Afghanistan/Wisconsin (by Carthage College.) To Kill A Mockingbird, (Marquette University.) Equus, (Oakland University.) Mad World, (Ball State University.) and Q Gents Of Verona. (the Q Brothers.) Of all of them, Equus was my favorite. That was the one that made me almost cry. It was riveting and thought provoking and brave. I’m getting the written play from the library and then maybe I’ll do a full review.

   I had so much fun at KCACTF and it’s too much to even put into words. I realized how much I love theatre. I loved sitting and watching shows and standing up with everyone at the end. I loved looking out over the balcony of my hotel to listen to the sound of roudey college kids applauding at nothing. I loved laughing and having adventures and deep conversation with my roommates. I loved eating dinner with these people I realized I loved. And I loved that I was brave enough to do it.

   When I was first cast in columbinus, I was searching for the reason. I mean, what did I have to do? Why would God let this happen to me? What did I have to do? I told my mom this and she said “What if God just wanted you to be happy?” I said yeah right and continued asking questions but it was last week I realized she was right. Now, I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel and blah blah blah, but really, God likes to bless us. And I worry so much about trying to help other people I never think that something could be about me because why would it be? But I think joining theatre was about healing me, and in turn, I could help other people. So, indirectly, it was about helping people. But it all started with me being able to see that I was more than I thought. I could get in a van with 10 people I had met at school and travel out of state with them. I could talk even if I was afraid, I could perform a silent skit with strangers at a theatre festival. I could be myself and be okay.

   It was through theatre that I think I’ve found a home and a family that’s my own. No one chose it for me. And it’s weird to think that people accept me there because I’m the baby of the group and the Christian and the newbie; and I don’t smoke or drink or like to do a lot of the same things they all do, and yet they respect me.

   Theatre has helped me in so many ways, and I just started. I just stop and think a lot about all these ways people can learn to cope and grow that just aren’t taken advantage of. I wish everyone could try something audacious and find a passion even if it scares them because it could change their lives. I think about the things acting has taught me about who I am and who God is. It’s helped me to deal with a lot of crap that I wouldn’t have known what to do with. I think art is so important for people and we miss that a lot.

   So basically I had a great time. Although, I made some mistakes, felt like I wasn’t representing Christ enough, did some things, wondered if I was screwing everything up; the usual. But overall, I am so happy I was able to go. I’m so shocked that I have friends at school. And I can’t wait to see where this all goes.

   So there’s my life. I start my second semester of college next week. I got all my books this week and my photography kit came in for my black and white photography class so hopefully I’ll be able to share a lot more of my photos with you like y’all voted I should.

   Thanks for reading this journal entry. (Basically.)

   I love all 111 of you. Thanks for being a part of my life.

Best Books Of 2015

   Happy New Year!

   My NYE was amazing. I went to a hotel with two of my friends and we partied. (And by party I mean we watched movies and drank sparkling grape juice out of wine glasses and listened to Justin Bieber and sat on the hotel bed in our pjs and talked.) I loved it. But now I want to talk about the books I read in 2015.

   I read 72 books, which is a personal record for me. I’m proud because this was the year I started college and told myself I wasn’t going to read a lot. So I want to give you my top favorites or most notable books I read last year. I think I read more non-fiction this year than fiction, which is sort of weird, but I really like memoirs and autobiographies. I love hearing people’s stories and in a way, I feel like I owe it to people to listen. I feel the need to read every autobiography ever, even though I know it’s not even a semi realistic goal. So I just try to read as many of them as I can.

   The first list will be fiction, and the second will be autobiographies. Let me know what you think of them!

   Fiction

   All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
   Finn and Violet both planned on jumping off the roof of their school on the same day. They did not plan this. Finn is a freak. Violet is the popular girl. Yet it’s Finn who talks Violet down. Although he lets her tell the school that she went up their to save him, the truth continues to haunt her. 
   This unlikely duo end up doing a school project together, at Finn’s insistence, and neither one of them are prepared for what awaits them.

   This book was amazing. Probably one of my favorites ever. So beautifully written and it discussed so many important topics. And I know the author knew what she was talking about. (From the authors note at the end.) It’s so relevant and relateable and the characters will melt your heart. Please read this book.

   Challenger Deep – Neal Shusterman
   Caden Bosch is on a boat going to Challenger Deep, the deepest place on the planet. Beyond that, good luck trying to figure this book out because I am at a loss as to how to explain it.

   This book utterly wrecked me. (Shipwreck pun intended.) At first I was skeptical because if you read the description you just kinda scratch your head at it. But Aimee and Ely both thought it was just beyond fantastic, so I had to read it because I trust their judgement above everyone else’s. (True fact.) I stuck it out to the end and it blew my mind. It’s confusing at first but press through it. This book did not disappoint.

   The Lord Of The Flies – William Golding
   Boys get stuck on an island and have to find out a way to survive while they wait for help to arrive. Ralph is elected leader, but when some of the young boys begin to have nightmares, they begin to think a monster is hiding on the island. Driven by fear and blood-lust, the boys group splits in two; each side at war with the other. Will the boys be able to come to a peace agreement, or will the monster destroy them before they ever get the chance to make things right?

   I don’t know why people complain about required reading in schools so much. In my opinion, the books are actually amazing. Point number one would be this book right here. The themes are so deep and rich, the symbolism is so well thought out, and the things you learn will shake you right to your core. The study of evil has never been written out in a way like it is in this novel. It truly is a classic. Also can we have a modern movie remake please?

   Me And Earl And The Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews
   Greg and Earl just like to make movies. They make movies because it’s the only way they can survive high school. Everything is going fine up until Greg’s mom makes him befriend, Rachel; a young girl from his school who was diagnosed with cancer. 

   I know. Another cancer novel. “Sickness isn’t a fad!” “Can Hollywood please stop making it trendy to be dying!!1” You’ll argue. And I’ll agree. To a point. But I actually read (And finished) this novel with a needle shoved into my vain while I fought nausea from the chemo. (Shown in the picture to the right.) So hear me out first.
   I thought it was funny, but not tasteless. It was honest and I always appreciate that. Overall, good read.

   We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver
   In a series of letters to her husband, Eva Khatadourian recalls the conception, birth, and life of their son, Kevin, whom she believes to have been a sociopath from birth. All of the letters lead up to one traumatizing moment that changes their world forever.

   I literally cannot stress my love for this book enough. I threw this book at my wall when I finished. I cried. I sat on my kitchen floor and ran fingers through my hair. I was a mess. And the movie was just as incredible. This book deserves a full blog post review, and I always meant to do one but could never be coherent enough to do it. I can’t even talk about why I love it without giving away spoilers but it became my favorite book of all time, next to It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. The writing was just remarkable. The story was captivating and fresh. And the way it made you think just about blows your mind. 10/10 would recommend this book, although I would have to warn you it’s incredibly dark and there is some sexual content.

   Autobiography

   Orange Is The New Black – Piper Kerman
   You’ve probably heard of the Netflix series by the same name. The one about the woman’s prison. You’ve probably also heard that its vulgar and sexual and just overall bad content. I would like to inform you that the book is so much better. I read this book because I liked the idea of the Netflix show, but hated the actual content. I figured I was old enough to read that kind of book, but I was happily surprised to find the book was nothing like the movie in terms of sexual scenes. Actually, I really liked it. It didn’t glorify what she did to get in prison like people argue that the show does, and it was super informative about the state of women’s prisons in the US. It made me angry at the way inmates are treated and how freaking messed up the system is. So yeah, I liked it.

   Yes, Please – Amy Poehler 

   My sister made me read this book even though I had never seen anything with Amy Poehler in my life, but she knew I liked autobiographies. I read it and I loved it. I laughed, I cried. I got to highlight things I liked for the first time ever. It was cool. Dayle’s copy is going around our friend circle and each person to read it gets to write their name in the flyleaf and annotate it. It’s pretty rad. Anyhow, I started Parks And Recreation right after that and I fell in love because I had already read about how much fun Amy had making it and how hard she worked to get there. It made me appreciate it because because I could relate to how she felt. It reminded me of how I felt being a part of columbinus. And she works with people on such a huge scale that I can’t imagine how she must feel being able to put out such great shows for so many to enjoy. Plus, the book was hilarious.

   My Fight/Your Fight – Ronda Rousey
   Ronda has her faults. I mean, she is waaaaaaay too cocky. She’s full of herself. And the way she thinks about fighting really, I mean, it’s rough. She is one tough chick. I don’t agree with her in the sense that I believe I should be the best at what I do and should kick anyone’s butt to until I get there, but I get it in a spiritual sense. The way she fights and trains physically is how I feel I should I fight and train spiritually. If you get what I mean. Getting into fighting has been all spiritual for me. (A blog post in of itself.) It’s hard and there will be times you get knocked down and you bleed and you want to give up but instead you keep going. If you can take this book and read it in the sense that your enemy is Satan and the evil around you and you must learn how to fight, I think it will be really eye opening.

   Brain On Fire – Susannah Cahalan
   Susannah was a reporter for the New York Post (So she talks about Alexander Hamilton in it! Bonus!) Suddenly she starts acting psychotic. This leads to her “month of madness,” as she describes it. It was super interesting, especially noting that she has an auto-immune disease, like I have. I understood a lot of the medical jargon and procedures. Plus the psychological side really intrigued me. It was one of those books that was so well written you began to feel like you were the character in the book as you read it. So feeling like I was slightly paranoid for a few days was weird.
 
   We All Fall Down – Nic Sheff
   This personal story of addiction and relapse was powerful. Even if you’ve never struggled with substance abuse, you can relate to the endless cycle that we seem to be in; getting up, falling down, getting up, falling down. Nic Sheff is brutally honest in his journey to be free from drug abuse, and each page broke my heart and made me feel deeply for him and others in his situation. Nic is a remarkable person with a tremendous amount of strength, and his story will inspire you. I loved this book so much I went and read every single one he’s written so far; I was not disappointed. He’s a fantastic writer and his life story is just amazing.

 
   So that’s it. I read a lot of other books but those are the ones that stuck out to me. What were your favorite books you read last year? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? If so, what did you think of them?

 

2015

   2015 is coming to a close and I’m trying desperately to figure out how the year went because I can never remember. So I’m at my laptop with my journal open and I’m flipped to the pages that mark the beginning of this year.

   Well, January was rough. 2015 was rough. I didn’t know it was until now, looking back on everything. Yikes. This year started off crappily. My journal starts off with a rant about my position spiritually and my anxiety over seeing my best friend, who at that point I hadn’t seen in like, 7 months because of an overseas missions trip. Shortly after that I had a lot of problems with my health and was sick for 3 weeks with meningitis, and was in the hospital for 2 of those weeks. I’m starting to realize that life really is two steps forward, one step back. I guess this year was my one step back.

   So, in brief, here are a few highlights (and lowlights?) of how my 2015 went.

   -Saw my best friend who I hadn’t seem in over half a year.
   -Got snowed in with said best friend and watched the SuperBowl with her.
   -Had a kidney biopsy
   -Went through chemotherapy
   -Spent 2 weeks in the hospital. (And one night in ICU.)
   -Graduated high school. (And started college.)
   -Became theatre trash. (Fell in love with the musical Hamilton, performed in my schools production of columbinus, and joined my schools theatre club.)
   -Saw The Force Awakens 4 times and counting
   -Watched my first UFC fight (And realized I like fighting.)
   -Redesigned my blog
   -Saw Age Of Ultron
   -Was taken off all my meds except one. (No more steroids! Yay!)
   -Won NaNoWriMo for my 3rd time
   -Completed my first second draft. (If that made sense??)
   -Finally did The Thing God had been asking me to do for a year
   -Completed my first semester at community college with all A’s and B’s
   -Bought a DSLR and a laptop
   -Read 72 books the year I said I wasn’t going to read. (Post on that coming soon.)
   -Dyed my hair teal
   -Saw my Internet friend again
   -Reached 100 blog followers
   -Met a new best friend
   -Starting working out at a gym
   -Went to my first convention
   -Began wrestling with my insecurities and anxiety all over again
   -Watched RAIM get 600 Facebook likes
   -Ended the year visiting my friend out of state.
   -Will spend New Years eve at a hotel with two of my favorite humans, partying it up with sparkling grape juice and cute dresses

   I know a lot of those things on that list are good, but overall, this year freaking gave me a beating. I didn’t realize it until today, but I realized I’m struggling again. I’ll be okay. I realized that getting up from a place you’ve been before is even harder than getting up the first time. Because you have to deal with the shame of thinking you could have prevented the backslide. That’s kind of where I’m at. I’ve been knocked down, and the devil wants me to stay down. So I guess I have a choice now, don’t I?

   I’m going to get back up. Eventually. Yeah I’m overwhelmed and yeah I think my health might be starting to flare up on me again and yeah I’m not where I want to be spiritually, God’s got my back. I can’t do this. But He can. I’m just going to keep saying it until I believe it.

   Of course, I’ve never been big on resolutions, but I feel like I should this year. Because even though we all forget them 2 months into the year, I like to think I’ll accidentally accomplish at least one of them. So we’ll see. I just want to have goals. Plus I like lists.

   Here are my 2016 goals.

   -Work on my anger issues
   -Be more honest
   -Be a better sister
   -Stop being so selfish over fandoms
   -Figure out where RAIM is going and what our plan is for that
   -Continue to grow
   -Stop being so hard on myself

   One last thing, I promise.
   I would really appreciate it if you took a few seconds to fill out this questionnaire.

   Thanks a billion!

   What are your goals for this coming year? How did 2015 treat you?

The Kylo Ren Epiphany

   I wasn’t going to post this I swear. Especially since I just blogged. It’s personal and there are some things I only like sharing with people who have the courage to ask. But a few people did have that courage. Plus I was lowkey afraid of sounding stupid. But as it turns out, a ton of people favorited this tweet for some odd reason, and Beth wanted a blog post. I suppose I should stop beating around the bush and finally say I saw The Force Awakens 3 times and it was fantastic. And I fell in love with another villain. Who I might even like more than Loki. 

 

   Now, I’m going to say THIS POST CONTAINS ALL OF THE SPOILERS. I’M SO SORRY I GOTTA. So go see TFA and then come back and read this post! But seriously, spoilers. Spoilers. Spoilers. Spoilers everywhere. Seriously, just do yourself a favor and go see it. You won’t regret it. 
   
   
      So sermon time.
      Now, you have to know a thing about me before this. Everything is spiritual to me. I can’t watch anything or do anything without searching for some spiritual lesson. Mostly, I only share these things with my closest friends because people who don’t ask why I like things don’t deserve to know the answers anyway. But, like, I said, I’m sharing it this time. I always like things for reasons and they always say things about me. So don’t make fun of me if I sound stupid during this whole post.
      Okay, moving on.
      So in The Force Awakens, the saddest part of the movie is the bridge scene. (Need I specify?) Kylo Ren (Ben. My son.) kills his father by stabbing him with a lightsaber. Obviously this is emotional on so many levels. But today I won’t focus on how I broke my heart to heart my favorite character in so much pain or the fact that we lost a beloved member of the original trio, Let’s talk about spiritual stuff.
   It may come as a surprise to people that I rarely see myself as a hero. I tend to relate to the villains a lot more, so that’s why I like them more. I’m not a perfect person, as you guys are abundantly aware. Like Kylo, I have anger issues. I am constantly torn because “I know what I have to do but I don’t know if I have the strength to do it.” 
      That scene on the bridge hit me because if I’m Kylo, then Han Solo would be…well, God. The more I thought about it the more true it seemed to be. Han Solo went onto that bridge knowing he would die. We all know he wasn’t planning to get away. In order to show his love for his son, he had to demonstrate what lengths he would go to for him. He went to the extreme by leaving his blaster in his holster and showing he would die for him. Even after he gets stabbed you see him reach out to touch his sons cheek. Despite everything, Han forgave. He just wanted his son to come home. That was the only thing he ever asked for. He didn’t ask him to clean up his act and come back once he had thrown away his lightsaber. He asked for him to take off his mask so he could see his son, but that was it. He just wanted to see his kid without the mask, to be able to look into his eyes at the child he loved so fearlessly. 
   And that’s how God loves us. I wish I could such a clear picture in church of this. I wish everyone would let that truth sink into them because it would change the world. God came out onto that bridge for me; without his weapon, knowing it would be me that killed him. My sins. Yet he loved me even though I was, by definition, his enemy, he looked at me and saw his child. This just breaks me. I wish it broke me every day. I wish I lived in this knowledge every day. I wish I could understand how much God loves me. 
   Charles Spurgeon says this perfectly in his sermon “Love’s Logic.” He says “But this is the personal point-He loves me. An insignificant nobody, full of sin who deserved to be in hell, who loved Him so little in return-God loves me. Beloved believer, does this not melt you? Does not this fire your soul? I know it does if it is really believed.”
    God loves you with this insane, passionate love. He would die for you. He doesn’t look at you and see the terrible things you’ve done. He sees his child. His grace is big enough for you. Even if you have turned away from Him so many times, He isn’t keeping track. He just wants His child to come home. So return home. Go back to your Father. Christmas time is such a lovely time to stop and focus on God and the love He has for you. The fact that Jesus left heaven to be a human is enough to blow my mind; and yet there was even more. 
     
    Just take some time to dwell on that. I know I have a hard time picturing God because I have no idea what to think of and I’m a visual person; I like to be able to see things. So I jump at every stupid chance to get some hint of an idea of who God is; even if that means crying during movies that almost have nothing to do with God at all. 
      So that’s it. 
   I hope you have a lovely Christmas. Remember that you are loved by God so immensely that even the biggest picture we can come up with isn’t even close to how He loves us. 
   
   And may the Force be with you.

Dear Ned

   It’s been two years. Two years to yesterday you committed suicide by jumping off the roof of your library. I was supposed to write this yesterday and well, I’m sorry. I almost forgot. I know. How could I forget? How come anyone? You were, no, you are my favorite author. You were like, the greatest YA author ever. Your writing inspired thousands. You changed lives. I want to people able to write like you did; you spoke from such a personal place and were so vulnerable. I don’t think anyone has been able to do that the way you were able to. People trust you because you weren’t faking it all. You knew what you were talking about.

   I remember the first time I read It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. I read it because I kept seeing pictures from the movie on my tumblr. I knew Emma Robertson was in it so I searched her IMDB for every movie she was in until I found it. Then I heard it was a book so I ordered the book and the movie from the library. They both came, but I read the book first. I fell in love. The way you wrote sucked me into the story. I felt like Craig was me. He talked like us. Like a teenager. I was 17. I felt like Craig was speaking my language. I didn’t know anyone else knew how hard it was to talk and how hard it was to get out of bed some mornings and life. It was like someone finally got what I was saying and it was okay because I wasn’t alone.

   You taught me that all I had to do was breathe in and breathe out. You put The Shift into words. In that book, wow. You taught me that we had to live. To enjoy every stupid little thing and that life is so beautiful. But even after the Shift comes, you’re not cured. Things can still be hard and there will be days where you swear you’re getting bad again but that doesn’t mean your Shift meant nothing. It will always mean something. You taught me that when you speak the truth, you get stronger.

   In Craig I found someone who was as messed up as I was. Craig was someone who had biking as an Anchor, like me. He had Tentacles that complicated life and made things difficult. Craig was afraid of living. Craig had a hard time talking. But I realized it wasn’t Craig. It was you, wasn’t it?

   You were all those things.  It was always you.

   And then when I saw it on Twitter…you killed yourself…I just cried. I wanted to say it wasn’t true but I searched your name and I saw it. It was on the news. It was everywhere. I just sat at my desk and cried. I never got to meet you. You would never sign my copy of It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. I would never tell you that your book helped me more than I ever thought.

   There was one line in specific that had such an impact on me. It said “I don’t owe people anything, and I don’t need to talk to them any more than I feel I need to.”

   Ned, that was everything to me. That hit me so hard. That was what finally got me to be okay with being quiet. Because I don’t owe people my words. If I give them it’s because I trust you. I don’t owe people anything. If I’m uncomfortable, I don’t need to talk and my silence should be okay. After that I didn’t feel so pressured to talk or even to explain myself. I can tell the people who care, and people who don’t, well, they don’t deserve to know anyway. That was so freeing. Thank you.

   I miss you.

   I think about you a lot. I’m angry that you never got hope. You never found the light. I think you would be so happy today. Be More Chill was just adapted for Broadway. Can you believe it? It’s a musical now. You would be so proud. You would be here to maybe read this letter on this little blog and see how much your words meant to the world; you would see that you were broken but aren’t we all? You’re not alone. I recommend your book to everyone I meet. I run a ministry for kids who are depressed and I always tweet things you’ve said and I always tell my kids about It’s Kind Of A Funny Story. Heck, the movie was just as good. It was just perfect. You should be so proud. Some day if I get published, I want to dedicate a novel to you because I hope you be a writer just like you. I want my words to be authentic and to matter to people.

   I saw a quote on Instagram that said “Books don’t have the power to save us, but they give us the courage to save ourselves.” And well…yeah. Thank you. I could say that a million times. Thank you , thank you, thank you. I wish I could hug you and tell you all this. I miss you. We all do. But you helped me get stronger and braver and for that, I’m forever grateful. God used you in big ways. I know it’s not just me. I’m just one simple girl you helped to feel more comfortable. Imagine the rest of the stories.

   You’re a hero, Ned Vizzini.

   Thanks you.

   -Faith